It is official now. The road between Dharwad and Ramnagar that connects Karnataka to Goa and which has been in a very bad condition for decades is being converted into double-lane highway by the state government. On Sunday, public works minister C M Udasi performed the bhoomi pooja for the road construction work at Alnavar in the presence of rural development and panchayat raj minister Jagadeesh Shettar and MP Prahlad Joshi.
The state government has entrusted the works to the Karnataka Road Development Corporation which in turn has given the responsibility to Hyderabad-based GVR-RMN-Pratyusha Companies consortium named GVRMP Dharwad-Ramna-gar Tollway Private Limited. The 61.50 km stretch on the Aurad-Sadashivagad state highway No 34, which has made the journey for those travelling to Goa from Dharwad via Ramnagar a herculean task, will be re-laid for Rs237.60 crore. It will be on the build-operate-transfer (BOT) / viability gap funding (VGF) basis.
The nine-metre-wide road covers 29.9 km in Dharwad district and 31.50 km in Belgaum district before entering Goa. It will pass through three railway crossings, one bridge and 12 culverts. There will be two truck lay base, five under passes and two toll gates. The work is expected to be completed in two years. When completed, it will give a big boost to tourism, trade and commerce in Dharwad, Belgaum and Uttara Kannada districts.
The road has been in a bad shape for decades and any number of petitions and complaints to the authorities had failed to yield results. Those traveling to Goa were forced to take a route via Belgaum and Savantawadi, covering an additional distance of 80 km.
Kannadigas settled in Goa had repeatedly appealed to the legislators and ministers visiting Goa to get the road repaired, but to no avail.
Udasi, being the public works minister for second term, had failed to fulfill the demand. Successive governments had given up the road repair work after conducting ‘bhoomi pooja’, citing financial crunch. Dharwad MP Prahlad Joshi and minister Jagadeesh Shettar’s efforts to get the road included in Central Road Fund during the regime of H D Revanna as public works minister had also not been fruitful.
Now it seems the road is set to be repaired with state government contributing 20 per cent of the cost while the Centre will contribute matching amount. The companies taking up the work on BoT basis will bear 60 per cent of the cost. Th e BoT is for a period of 30 years and the time frame for getting the road ready is two years.